Jens Pfeifer

Research: Why glass is a better material for art in public space

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As the title indicates, the research is on the potential of using (blown) glass for art in public space, in spite of the technical limitations.

In this research project Jens Pfeifer explores the question of why there is a lot of glass in public space, but it is rarely used for sculptures there. He also tries to outline a picture of the possibilities for using blown glass in monumental art. These are becoming increasingly realistic as a result of technological developments in the field of glass. The technical aspect of the question, however, is subordinated to the theoretical and philosophical significance of the glass bubble or sphere as a socially shared space, an entity that both creates and maintains life.

The theme is not exclusively focused on glass-related teaching. On the contrary, the aim is to approach other disciplines through this research and to raise glass for discussion as a material for monumental applications in public space.

As head of the Glass department of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and as an artist, Jens Pfeifer has a professional interest in the question. He can use it in his practice, but it is primarily a theme for discussion in the classes at the academy. An important part of that teaching consists of constructive in-depth questions regarding the use of glass in art. Through his research, this theme is given new impulses and will eventually lead to a change of ideas about the use of sculptural and monumental glass. This research can also be important for departments that have no relation to glass, because it is about the function and changing value of art in public space.

The research is intended to illuminate the importance of (blown) glass in public space while reflecting on other materials at the same time. Possible follow-up activities of this research are: teaching projects at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy resulting in specific questions about art in public space. The research will also be a theme or form part of lectures for a specialist public. This may result in a publication in the form of an essay in a periodical, or in the form of a book. It will eventually stimulate technologies that relate to the technical challenges described in this research.